Backup of system and external applications in Android

Not so long ago, backup was only talked about when we thought about corporate data. However, today, in light of the next round of development of malicious software for mobile devices running the Android operating system, as well as the widespread spread of tablets and smartphones with this operating system, it is time to remember that the easiest way to protect against malicious blockers, trojans and encryptors is backup.


If we consider that the first malicious extortion agents for the Android OS appeared relatively recently, today there is a rapid increase in their number. Also note that all of them are unique in their own way: some block the screen and all operations on the phone, others require a ransom for decryption of user files on the memory card.

You can make a backup Android as the “native” tools of the system, as well as using third-party applications. All users of android devices are recommended to make a reservation through a Google account or through utilities from developers, as it is the most convenient and secure way. In addition to this, you can currently download a lot of applications that perform the same operations on Google Play. But as with other software, you should only trust personal information, all passwords, contacts and messages from verified sources.

Recisions from the manufacturer

Device manufacturers often offer proprietary utilities for data backup. Some (e.g. SONY) offer to install the application on the computer, others (ASUS, LG, Xiaomi) embed the corresponding functionality in the firmware. Samsung offers to create backups in its own “cloud”.

Combines solutions from manufacturers two things. Firstly, the backup being created will be full enough to recover your data after a device reset, firmware upgrade or upgrade. Secondly, it will not be possible to restore the backup from the SONY phone to the tablet from ASUS (and vice versa): it will be necessary to restore the same software to the model of the same manufacturer. On the other hand, Xiaomi backups will be compatible with most devices running on the MIUI firmware family. The downside of the coin is that even international versions of MIUI don’t have standard cloud backup in Google Drive, which Google offers in Android 6.0, 7.x and 8.0.

However, if you plan to use your device for a long time, why not create a backup? Yes, it’s not always convenient, and yes, it’s not automated in any way, but isn’t it possible? And if something happens to the phone, and if the user decides to replace it with a device from the same manufacturer, it may be possible to restore it from backup. There is, of course, no warranty: the manufacturer guarantees successful recovery only to the device of the model from which the data was copied.

Solid Explorer application

All data is lost when flashing the device. Applications, phone memory information, etc. If you want to flash a smartphone but want to save apps, you can back up them.

Solid Explorer has an application category. It contains installed and system applications – “User apps” and “System apps”:

1. Install Solid Explorer ().
2. Go to the category “Applications” / “Applications”.
3. open “User apps” or “System apps”.
4. Highlight the apps you want to use.
5. Copy it to a flash drive.

/></p><p>.<br/>By default, these applications are located in the “/system/app”, “/system/priv-app” and “/data/app” paths. You can access them from any explorer that supports the root partition.</p><h2>Reverse copy via ADB</h2><p>Starting with Android 4.3, the system has a standard way of creating a backup via the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) interface. You will need to download the “minimal ADB” set consisting of adb.exe, fastboot.exe files and the required libraries (no installation required). In addition, you will need to download and install ADB drivers for your device. As a rule, drivers are the same for devices working under control of certain sets of system logic. For example, ADB drivers from Qualcomm are universal and suitable for all devices on Snapdragon chipsets. Let’s consider that USB debugging mode is already activated and the computer is authorized.</p><p>So, to create a backup you need to use approximately such a command:</p><p>adb backup -apk -shared -system -all -f C:\fullpath\backup.ab</p><p>Why “approximately”? Because of the same variety of devices and firmware. We have tested a large number of devices from different vendors running different versions of Android from 4.4 to 8.0 inclusive. On some devices the command worked in the specified form, on some devices the indication of keys -system or -shared led to the creation of an empty file, and some refused to accept the key -all. We couldn’t catch any logic in the adb command’s behavior; one thing is certain: its behavior depends little on the Android version. Rather, it depends on the settings set by a particular manufacturer.</p><p>For example, on Nexus 5x running Android 7.1.1 the following command was passed:</p><p>adb backup -all -f c:\temp\nexus.ab</p><p>But the option -noapk “broke” the backup: an empty file was created.</p><p>Also, ADB backup may not work if data partition encryption is enabled. Recall that encryption is enabled by default on Nexus devices, as well as (on Google demand) on all devices that come with pre-installed Android 6 and have 64-bit processors.</p><p>One more thing. Adb backup is designed so that a backup created on one device can be easily restored on another. And the keyword here is not “restore” at all, but “without problems”: the device must work absolutely correctly after the restore. Correspondingly, only those data and settings are saved and restored which won’t exactly harm stable operation even when data are transferred from a 32-bit smartphone with MediaTek chipset (ARMv7 architecture) to a 64-bit tablet with Intel Atom (x86-64 architecture).</p><p>The ADB backup command has the following syntax:</p><p>adb backup [-f <file>] [-apk|-noapk] [-shared|-noshared] [-all] [-system|-nosystem] [<packages…>]</p><p>– write an archive of the device’s data to <file>.</p><p>If no -f option is supplied then the data is written</p><p>to “backup.ab” in the current directory.</p><p>(-apk|-noapk enable/disable backup of the .apks)</p><p>The default is napk.)</p><p>(-shared|-noshared enable/disable backup of the device’s</p><p>shared storage / SD card contents; the default is</p><p>noshared.)</p><p>(-all means to back up all installed applications)</p><p>(-system|-nosystem toggles whether -all automatically)</p><p>includes system applications; the default is to</p><p>include system apps)</p><p>(<packages…> is the list of applications to be backed up</p><ol><li>If the -all or -shared flags are passed, then the</li></ol><p>The package list is optional. Applications explicitly</p><p>The command line will be included even if</p><p>-nosystem would ordinarily cause them to be omitted.)</p><p> </p><p>It will be easy to restore data from the backup using the adb restore command.</p><p>So what happens to these backups? Again, the answer depends on the manufacturer of the device. For example, in SONY smartphones contacts, call log and SMS do not get into ADB backups, and Samsung phones save this data. The same applies to device settings (which are often unique to the manufacturer) and system application data.</p><p>A list of installed applications is precisely included in the backup. The .apk files are extracted and saved (if an option was specified at the time you made the copy). However, application data may or may not be saved: this depends on the developers who may or may not allow the backup in the application manifest file.  At the same time, restoring from the adb backup is a lottery: most modern <strong>apps (.</strong><strong>apk</strong><strong>) will not be installed on the device from the backup. Thus, in modern conditions it is impossible to recommend backup via adb to a normal user, but it can be useful for expert analysis of the device contents.</p><p>From the practical point of view, we have not been able to get much benefit from such backups. When working with adb backup you still have to log in to Gmail, Facebook and other email and social network clients. The settings of FBReader and Nova Launcher (which, by the way, has its own backup mechanism) have not been preserved. And what’s left? It’s hard to remember that some devices managed to restore the call log and SMS archive.</p><h2> ADB Backups: what’s inside?<br/>Backups created through adb are quite simple. The output is an archive containing application data (depending on the settings – and .apk itself). Application data are stored in the form in which they are stored by the application itself. As a rule, applications use SQLite format, less often – XML, even less often – binary data in its own format. Let us just say that with the help of such tools it is possible to pull out remote records. An example? You’re welcome. If we are lucky and your phone manufacturer has allowed us to copy call and SMS logs, we will be able to recover messages and calls that were deleted by the user.</p><p> </p><h2>Google One: how to back up files from your Android device</h2><p>.</p><div class=

A backup copy is stored in your Google One account while your device is active and connected to the Internet.

It will be deleted if:

  • you will not use the device for 57 days
  • .

  • you turn off the backup on your Android device.

Where your device data is stored

Backups of data from your device are stored in different places. If you download the backups to Google, they are encrypted with a password from your Google Account. Some data is also encrypted using a PIN, a graphics key, or a password set to unlock the screen of your device.


Below you can see what data is saved if the Android settings have backup enabled. You don’t need to enable the backup separately in Google One.

  • Application data
  • Call log
  • Contacts
  • Settings
  • SMS


  • Photo and video in original quality from Google Photo.
  • Content from Android Messages: photo, video and audio from MMS messages.

Why are RCS messages not saved

RCS (Rich Communications Services) is a protocol that enables Android phones to support advanced messaging features such as group chats and send high-resolution photos, audio and video messages. The ability to send RCS messages and back them up depends on the carrier, phone model and messaging application installed on the phone.

How to enable automatic backup

Perform the following actions:

  1. Open the Google One app on your Android.
  2. Click Settings then Backup settings.
  3. Select the required parameters.
    • If a window appears advising you to install or update the application or change your settings, follow the on-screen instructions. Return to the Google One app to complete the setup.
    • .

    • Server copies can be saved using mobile data. If you want to save traffic, allow backups only when connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  4. Please grant permissions if necessary.
  5. Click on the “Back” icon in the upper left corner of the screen
  6. .

Backing up using Google One can take up to 24 hours. When the backups for your selected data categories are complete, you will see “Enabled” written under them.

How to start the backup

By setting up the backup settings, you can start the backup immediately.

  1. Open the Google One app on your Android.
  2. Click Create a backup. You may first need to press the Enable.
  3. button.

How to restore data from backup to a new device

You can restore data from your backup using the Google One app.

  1. If you haven’t already done so, restore a backup of your data while setting up your Android device.
  2. Open the Google One app on your Android.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. at the top of the screen.

  5. Click Restore from Backup.
  6. .

  7. Click Restore next to the desired data type.
    1. If a window appears with a recommendation to install or update the application or change the settings, follow the on-screen instructions.
    2. View to Google One to complete the configuration.
  8. Please grant permissions if necessary.
  9. Click on the “Back” icon in the upper left corner of the screen.

It can take up to 24 hours to restore data from your backup using Google One.

How to back up Android with contacts and settings on any computer?

  • Install Helium Desktop on a computer with Windows, Mac or Linux.
  • In this step, Windows may need to install Android drivers and reboot.
  • Install the Helium application on your Android phone.

  • Open Helium Desktop on your computer.
  • Open Helium to Android and follow the instructions appearing on the screen.

    Then you can save not only the data available to the file system, but also settings, applications, images and various user information.

Download Helium for computer (Windows, macOS, Linux)
Download Helium to your phone (via Google Play).

This is the easiest approach to saving data from a single Android device that will keep you well in case of emergency.


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